Luke Traina, ‘23, always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur. His first business was selling shoes to his friends in the seventh grade.
“I started selling shoes to friends for fun,” Traina said. “I built that into a company by the time I was in ninth grade and then sold that company senior year of high school.”
Traina’s dad, an entrepreneur who has started more than seven companies, encouraged Traina to explore his business endeavors.
He said his dad has acted as a catalyst and mentor for his entrepreneurial growth since he was 8 years old.
“(My dad has) given me the knowledge, resources and wisdom that he gained, so I can eliminate some obstacles down the line,” Traina said.
Now 21 years old, the management major has created three companies, residing as the owner of two of them: consulting firm ARBO Consulting LLC. and his newest venture, Seltic Premium Beverages.
Andreea Kiss, professor and director of the entrepreneurship minor program, had taught Traina in one of her classes. She said being a young entrepreneur is a feat few individuals are able to accomplish, and there are key components required to be successful.
“You need to be really confident, passionate and committed to this journey and prepared both mentally and financially to wait for your efforts to materialize,” Kiss said. “This is a self-driven journey and you need to carve your own path.”
Carving out a new path was a main consideration Traina had when starting Seltic. He said he found there were few tasty hard beverages with high alcohol by volume (ABV), and he wanted to change that.
He said he hopes his high ABV, good-tasting and ready-to-drink product will give him a competitive edge entering the market.
“I have a pretty unique market position and will be serving unique niches within that market,” Traina said. “I will be selling Seltic to music festivals, galas and other places where cocktails should be served.”
Being a young entrepreneur does not come without obstacles. In addition to owning two companies and being a full-time college student, Traina is also a member of the men’s basketball team.
In order to balance his commitments, he said he schedules his work carefully and allocates his time responsibly.
Elevating Seltic to its current position came with challenges of its own, including financing the project and obtaining the proper licensing, which can be expensive because a license must be obtained for each state a company intends to sell its product in.
Traina said he needed a liquor lawyer, the proper licensing and wholesaling. He also had to obtain private funding from two angel investors: himself and an outside firm.
“I’ve invested in companies before, so I knew what I wanted to see from an investor’s perspective,” Traina said. “I put myself in the investors’ shoes.”
Traina said he is excited to celebrate the fruition of the company with his friends and family.
One of these friends, and Traina’s basketball teammate, is Burke Chebuhar, ’24. He said Traina is driven as a young entrepreneur.
“He is a really goal driven person and is always working and talking to other people about how he can make his product different and successful,” Chebuhar said.
Traina said he will officially launch Seltic in April or May 2023 at a party in NYC. The brand is starting out with 50,000 cans and will build from there.
You are the epitome of your Dad! so very proud of you!